The Financial Services Gozo Foundation launched
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The Financial Services Gozo Foundation has been launched following a collaborative agreement between the Ministry for Gozo and the Ministry for Finance and the private sector.
Its role is to promote Gozo as a destination for the setting up of businesses within the financial services sector.
The aim of the Foundation, it said, is to coordinate closely with players in the industry so that they can assist practitioners in the market, to consider Gozo when they are approached by investors, particularly if they are more cost conscious and would prefer to work in a less congested environment.
“There are different financial sectors which can be attracted to operate from Gozo, such as intra-group financing activities, holding companies, overseas immovable property accounts, portfolio management, call centres, back-office operations, fund administration and other investment services.” The Foundation said that it will be geared towards raising Gozo’s profile as a niche finance centre.
“In today’s digital world, unlike manufacturing, financial services companies working primarily online, can in reality, set up anywhere in the world,” The Foundation added that “the island certainly lends itself to small entities, who for one reason or another, want to work in an environment that is, quiet, peaceful, and more rural, yet digitally connected to the rest of the world.”
“With the announcement in the last budget of an investment of €3.2 million for a second fibre optic cable for Gozo, the island will have fulfilled the digital connectivity guarantee for investors who are wary of the present single cable reality.”
It said that the founding members of the Foundation’s Board of Directors “have significant standing in the financial services sector and are eager to provide their expertise in order to ensure that Gozo can also benefit from Malta’s growing financial services sector.”
The Chairperson of the Board of Directors will be Mr Joe Portelli, who is also the Chair of the Malta Stock Exchange. The other members are Dr Max Ganado of Ganado Advocates; Mr Chris Casapinta representing the Malta Funds Industry Association; Mr Kenneth Farrugia representing Finance Malta; Ms Juanita Bencini representing the Institute of Financial Services Practitioners; Ms Pauliana Said, an accountant; Dr Rose Marie Azzopardi an economist and lecturer at the University of Malta, Ms Esther Bajada, Director of Tourism and Economic Development (MGOZ), and Mr Efrem Arpa, Director Financial Policy Analysis (MFIN).
Minister of Finance, Prof. Edward Scicluna and Minister for Gozo, Dr Anton Refalo were present to inaugurate this Foundation. Afterwards, there was the first meeting of the Foundation’s Board of Directors.
Minister Refalo thanked all those involved in the Foundation who have worked in the past months to bring this to fruition and who are all working together for the benefit of Gozo. He understands this may not be an easy road but is sure that the Foundation will work tirelessly to make it a success.
Prof. Scicluna said, “This project, as a concept, has a long history but only now has it been brought to fruition. The enthusiasm shown, thanks to the excellent working relationship by a number of financial practitioners who really believe in this concept was instrumental in setting up the foundation.”
Photograph: MGOZ/George Scerri